Blackbirds soar

UWI ladies take hold of division one netball title

University of the West Indies (UWI) Blackbirds are the Barbados Netball Association’s double crown champions.

Last night at the Netball Stadium in drizzling rain UWI baptized Newbury All Stars 68-22 to capture their first ever BNA Division One League title. The winners led 15-6, 27-14 and 49-16 after three periods.

That win has now taken the uncatchable Blackbirds to a total of 40 points after playing eight matches with two games left to play against Pine Hill St Barnabas and Guardian Group Pride of Villa.

University of the West Indies Blackbirds goal-shooter Shonica Wharton was superb netting 60 goals in the game.
University of the West Indies Blackbirds goal-shooter Shonica Wharton was superb netting 60 goals in the game.

The dominance of national goal-shooter Shonica Wharton took the spotlight once again as she effortlessly netted a whopping 60 goals from 63 attempts – her highest score so far for the season. She was well supported in the ring by goal-attack Rieah Holder who scored eight goals from her 11 shots at the ring. Newbury goal-attack Khadija Domingo made it into double figures with 14 goals from 24 attempts and goal-shooter Janelle Brathwaite scored eight but missed a hefty 12 attempts at the ring.

UWI made good on their first period nine-point lead by adding to it through Wharton on the resumption. She was given enough space to take the ball out of the air and shoot at the hoop. The score was 25-9 mid way through the second quarter when Newbury’s top shooter Domingo seemingly picked up a slight ankle injury in wet slippery conditions.

Thankfully for All Stars it was nothing too serious and she was back on court in no time.  She made her presence felt with five consecutive goals that took her team onto double figures to end that period better than they did in the first.

At the start of the third quarter UWI made three changes with captain Danisha Croney moving from center position to wing-attack previously played by Rashida Chase who switched to wing-defence and replaced Kashera Corbin for the remainder of the game. Teresha Howell had on the center bib in place of Croney. Those changes allowed UWI to up the pace of the game and there was nothing Newbury could have done to stop the rhythm of their opponents’ defence or offence. Goal-defender and national player Shanice Rock was excellent and might just have her name written on the Best Defender trophy.

So good was UWI’s defence that Newbury only managed a mere two points in the penultimate quarter. However in the fourth and decisive period, Domingo ended the drought for Newbury with a shot at goal as they went on to reach 20 goals but they would have needed a miracle to prevent their eighth consecutive loss for the season.

Double crown winners - UWI Blackbirds.  (Pictures by  Morissa Lindsay)
Double crown winners – UWI Blackbirds.
(Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Speaking with Barbados TODAY after the win, UWI team coach Margaret Cutting said her players put in the necessary hard work and therefore were satisfied with the results that accrued.

“They set their goals and said that is what they wanted to achieve this year and they did it. The defensive circle really worked hard and overall everyone did well,” Cutting said.

There were other matches played at the Netball Stadium and in Division three Bryden Stokes edged C.O Williams Rangers 29-25 (10-4, 17-8, 21-17) in a keenly contested game. Goal-shooter Claudette Johnson led the way with 25 goals off 31 attempts and goal-attack Margaret Spooner had four from six. Scoring for Rangers were goal shooter Heather Belle with 21 from 31 and goal-attack Nyasha Williams who netted four goals.

Welches Rovers had a good game over Phoenix Gems swamping them 30-19 (10-3, 18-6, 23-12) in the second Division three clash. In Division four Spooners Hill Pearl trounced WOW Shottas 39-16 after leading at the quarters, 11-4, 18-8 and 25-13. 

Then Galaxy Stars had their way against Welch Rovers in Division five winning 32-18 (9-4, 16-7, 23-12). Pine Hill St Barnabas came from behind to defeat Rapid Response 27-25 (7-9, 13-14, 17-20). Bryden Stokes in that same division were also victorious 47-24 (12-4, 24-9, 33-17) over Notre Dame Ballerz. 

One game in Division seven was contested between Silver Raiders and Princess Margaret Emerald Stars and the former won 27-22 (10-2, 14-6, 20-14). 

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